tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe WHUT October 6, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, is affirmative action still necessary? then, latina voter turnout and behind the headlines: women who lead drug cartels.
hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to to the contrary, a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the supreme court and affirmative action. next week justices will hear arguments in an affirmative action case that could change admissions policies at public colleges and universities. it marks the first time the supreme court will address the topic in nearly a decade. fisher v. university of texas at austin involves a white student, abigail fisher, who was denied admission in 2008. it challenges the constitutionality of using race as a factor in admissions decisions. fisher argues the university's race-conscious policy violated her civil and constitutional rights.
in 2003 the supreme court endorsed the use of race as a factor in freshmen admissions. so, representative edwards, is affirmative action still necessary? >> absolutely, i think the commitment of the american dream actually rests with affirmative action, it requires it, i hope the supreme court does the right thing. >> i think that we're looking at different neutral different alternatives in talking about these issues on affirmative action. >> yeah, i agree. unfortunately until we start making serious changes in education system and i think it's necessary, affirmative action is necessary for inclusion and for diverse environment in the university system. >> i think 'farmtive action has become a crutch that we aren't revisiting education and how we're failing so many of our kids. until we do that maybe we do need it but i think we have failed our kids by not improving education. >> there was a very interesting
article in "the atlantic" which is progressive publication talking about how affirmative action was giving higher scores to latino kids and african americans and that they were showing up in school way behind their peers as a result because as you mentioned maybe the education system failed them. then doing very poorly, higher drop out rates, all that sort of thing. what do you think about the position that have article? >> i read the article i thought it was garbage, i think there were a lot of assumptions made that just don't match reality. i mean, i attended university and i think affirmative action enabled me to fully integrate in to the full promise of the education that i got. the article made an assumption that somehow this so-called mismatch actually made it really difficult for african american students to come in to a school
and integrate with the majority population of just never seen that. i don't think that we can base our policy on assumption that we make that really don't have any identifiable data behind them. >> we've looked at -- there was one report that came out talking about the racial neutral alternatives which is -- saying when you looked at all these -- except for selected universities and elite universities the racial neutral policy for working -- creating student diversity just as much or even more basing it on race. >> how did that work? >> that was under the century foundation report that came out and they talked about it from the social economic factors looking at it from the class or income levels and not basing it on race. with the interesting point when you look at elite universities, really what we're looking at the question of cost, the fact that prices are so outrageous that you can't -- it's hard for lower income whether you're white, african american, hispanic to
try to go to elite because of the fact that the cost of paying for education is so high. >> you can't pretend that you can just fix a problem when somebody starting fog to college. we worked on this in the mid 90s when they took over congress. we spent months and months and hours around a table trying to figure out this problem, is affirmative action still working, why do we need it, should we need it and we brought in experts, thoughtful, passionate people who cared deeply about this. all came down to the same thing, you have to make sure that kids in this country have an education window, if you don't get them when they're young have best education that this country has to offer you're going to lose them. then you can't falsely put them forward, plus not fair to minority students who are perfectly capable of getting in to college and rely on affirmative action and others think they don't. there's no way around it. you have to get the kids when they're little. if we fail them then, we're just
making excuses. >> i think it's interesting everybody is looking at affirmative action as way for inclusion. what if you look at it the other way that you're creating diverse environment for other college students. i feel like being able to go to college, give people the experience of having latina classmate was something that was beneficial for them because in the real world, in real life you have to interact with those kinds of cultures, different situations. looking at the argument on the other side talking about -- >> not trying to -- not a matter of should they be there, of course they should be there. you have to let them get there on their own. if that's not happening we're doing something wrong for a lot of our kids in this country -- >> but what about -- >> the universities use race as one of many factors that they consider for college add mig. there's not a single college or university across this country that looks at race alone as reason for admission. that is how you create diverse environment and university system. i think it's important, we can
separate, sure, there are failures in k-12 education, we have to deal with those but that's no excuse for banning affirmative action in colleges and universities. that leads to then the kine of diversity that we need to see in our workforce. >> don't you -- on some level don't you think -- i know if you're hillary clinton had been elected president i know that no where would anybody feel it was necessary to give women -- to make women part of affirmative action any more. don't you think if the country has elected an african american president that you can say on some level that, yeah, still exists but certainly not at the level wilt was when affirmative action was started. >> you know a way that you can argue just because -- i celebrate president barack obama's election to president but that doesn't mean we fought all the problems, that inclusion
and diversity we have lot of work to do. i think that we have to set about doing that work, we need to improve k-12 education and close those education gaps that we see, absolutely we do. but you don't do that with policies that strip away pell grants, that defund public education. you don't do that with policies that make it really difficult for students to get student loan or to close down opportunities for very qualified african american students to get in to college and universities and to more than survive it but to be great success. >> closing the gap, school choice being one of those that would help african americans and latinos, if parents would have their choice to be able to choose for their children what schools to go to instead of being stuck in the failed schools. >> and the -- >> wait, shy not have been given public money to send my son to private school. we need to support our public schools and improve the education that vast majority of children are getting in those public schools.
>> but why not give -- >> do all colleges and universities use affirmative action, didn't uc system drop 'purpletive action and -- affirmative action and participate pans of of a man americans and latinos dropped then went back up. >> dropped i by 53% for african americans. dropped significantly for latinos. all i'm saying is that i think it's important for us to have diverse environment not just for minority students, but for majority population that has to operate in a very different world even and global climate even in the one we operated in 20 years ago. there are many reasons that you can use affirmative action and also to improve the diversity of those systems. you got to keep it up. >> again, i think you look at this report that just came out, century foundation report they made it very clear, it's like, you look at president obama's daughters, they are african american, they don't need to
play -- to say here are my rates get me in to university. they don't need it from a social economic standpoint. when you are looking at it -- >> they don't represent -- >> but i'm say can -- >> the rates -- >> the race neutral alternatives they showed in this report that look they did it in -- don't use race as a factor diversity actually increases far beyond the expectations than if you include race. looking at the alternatives that are very important -- >> all i'm saying is that no college or university that uses race alone to admit students. you want students who come from diverse geographic backgrounds, want students officer diverse racial and sculptural and ethnic backgrounds a lot of factors that go in to college and university admissions and should race be a part of that bowl of things that we consider, absolutely. >> isn't that addressing it too late -- >> and affirmative action is one of those -- >> that is not -- that's what --
>> but look at the kid, i don't care about the race if you see kids with failing schools federal government, it is people closest to them, their parents, neighborhood, teachers, communities. we may not like that but you have to change the priorities. condoleezza rice says this should be the civil rights issue of our types. if you wait for college then you have adult issues. the -- >> that's not the issue -- >> it's so unfair to the -- >> with the supreme court we have to -- >> we have one without the other. >> we have to switch now we're out of time. let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from affirmative action to the latina vote. it's hispanic heritage month, and a reminder that candidates this year are doing all they can to court hispanic voters. [speaking spanish]
but new data from the pew but new data from the pewhispanic center suggest even though 24 million latinos are eligible to vote, hispanic voter turnout will be closer to 10 million. but why? latino voters are much younger than other racial and ethnic groups. and latinos in california and texas, two states with high hispanic populations, may not see a vote in the presidential election as very important. in 2008, 50% of eligible latinos voted, compared to 65% of african americans and 66% of white voters. latinos make up 11% of total eligible voters in 2012. now as cuban american, why is it that only ten out of 24 million eligible hispanic voters are going to the polls this year? >> that's obviously unfortunate. we want more latinos to go out and vote and be educated on the issues that are occurring. it starts at home.
i think that i remember growing up i was sitting around the table, my dad was a political prisoner in cuba he would talk about importance of freedom of democracy i felt that that was sort of took my charge to go out there and get involved and learn the issues and basically what i've been doing so long. we need more of that, the more of the parents being more engaged with the issues and talking about these important issues for the latino community. what is interesting, we've seen such a rise of conservative hispanics such as senator marco rubio and so many of these that have come out really that even for them they have been able to talk about the message of why it's important to get involved and why it's important for hispanics to vote. we are seeing it in florida where you are going to see i think a lot more active hispanics going out to vote. it's interesting to see how california and texas are just not going down that direction. although we have senatorial candidate in texas, ted cruz
chance of woning he's hispanic. we're seeing more hispanics getting involved in the political process now we got to get those younger hispanic voters to be more interested in going out and vote. >> i agree, i feel like there is also several barriers that have to do with the latino community not coming out to vote. some of the voter i.d. suppression laws, barriers to understanding the deadlines and when you need to vote -- register to vote, to go out and vote. there is language barriers autos well. going out to vote most of these women and men that latinos, hard working, working not just 9:00 to 5:00 they're working the dawn, early hours then until very late. that's another barrier that you can do why latino community is not coming out. but i'm optimistic i think the number will be 12 million for this year. >> that would be good. 50% of eligible. >> it's always a challenge with a younger population, younger people are challenged to vote
and so i think that that then becomes exacerbated when you look at the latino vote. i'm very optimistic. in my state of maryland we have something as driver, maryland dream act that will be on our ballot that is great in seven i have to vote. also in addition to removing those barriers, expanding opportunities to vote whether it's early voting or late polling hours those are really important to get people out who are in fact hard working and doing lots of other things in their lives. >> as you said this could be lot to do with the fact that the younger hispanic voters are a large part of the hispanic potential voting block. we're looking at this the wrong way. not as much as ethnic thing but youth thing, maybe younger hispanics consider themselves more part of the general american population than hispanic pap pow likes that the guest generation become homogenized. could be that they're being used or targeted that doesn't reflect how they feel.
the vast majority -- >> let me ask you what percentage of the hispanic community in the united states does not speak english. how big a barrier is language as you mentioned? >> that's pretty high. >> i think for the youth they speak english it's really interesting because they're the ones translating for their parents. in terms that you have a lot of those that come from latin america, when you look at the politics of latin america they equate politicians to corruption, it is what they do. the idea of having to deal with politics coming tolt united states not necessarily that's like for second nature. they would prefer to not have to go along, work with -- go to school, do what they have to do. they're such a voice and part of our united states that we need them to get more involved in that. >> i think that -- does it make sense for candidates to be fighting so hard, clearly -- >> i'm saying if only ten out of 24 million latinos go to the
polls. >> as hard as they fight for young people to go to the polls, i know that as democrats we're counting on high turn out among latinos, among african americans and high turn out 'young young people. i don't think that's prong to look another these demographics say, what is it that appeals to them? why do we want them to vote make that compelling argument. people will vote, latinos will vote as well as others. >> if they can realize like hispanic unemployment rate is up to -- it's up 10%. just staying up there, just stagnant. these are issues that affect them. the economy, things dealing with like family values that are important. the issue of immigration as well. part of them figuring out how can i get my voice heard. >> just simple to say -- >> maybe the same message that you want for all americans but you have to target the demographic where they live rather than have separate targeted message as if they're a special group way over here.
>> sometimes politicians miss it. we compartmentalize people. >> it is important for us to speak to people in a way that they can understand and on issues that are important. >> that's exactly what happened -- >> that's exactly what happened during the debate. that both of the -- the forum that they had, both of of the candidates talked to them, the hosts were talking in spanish asking the questions that the community wanted to know and able to answer have them open conversation to the latino community that's really what you need to do. >> i got to tell you i've never heard, i listen to conservative radio all the time they talk more about that union vision forum. it went from what was the message towards hispanics to also talk about to the american people where did these candidates fit. they ask tough questions. you have to give it to univision that are out there talking about these issues, educating the hispanic community in spanish. >> all right. behind the headlines: this is a story about one type of progress
women never wanted to make. the new leaders in the mexican drug cartel are women and they are considered some of the most dangerous fighters in the bloody drug wars. we interviewed one expert via skype to find out more. >> women have a different skill set that they bring to the cartels. they are technically more rational. they are more alluring. they can get things done that more macho members of the cartels can't get done with the guile persuasion. they make great lookouts. but make no mistake; they can be just as vicious and just as vile as men sometimes. >> with 50,000 dead in drug related violence and thousands more behind bars, some experts argue women are running cartels because there just aren't enough men left. widows, daughters and other women in the family take over when the men are killed. >> there still is a huge element of machismo and the men run the
show. that still is the dominant thread in cartels throughout mexico. but women are definitely having their say and have their roles in drug trafficking right now. >> longmire has studied mexican drug cartels closely for years. she says a dearth of men is not the only reason many women are assuming leadership roles. >> so we're seeing a rise in younger folk. female teenagers are coming in. i think it is more so because they have less opportunities than adults. just like we're seeing with male teenagers. he they don't have chances to go to school, they don't have chances for jobs. >> money and power are big lures. longmire believes women are taking on more responsibility because it's one industry where they can gain parity. >> we are dealing with a male-dominated society in mexico where women are still seen more in the traditional roles of being housewives, mothers, etc. so, perhaps they're seeing more
and more that the opportunities for equality, for power are greater for them. >> longmire says drug trafficking has been a family business in mexico for decades. women may be entering more visible roles now, but their involvement in the drug business is not new. one of mexico's most notorious drug traffickers was a woman who went by the name la nacha. she was the biggest heroine dealer in the 1960s. and there's sandra ávila beltrán, dubbed the queen of the pacific by the mexican media. she was arrested in 2007. early last month griselda blanco, also known as colombia's 'queen of cocaine' was gunned down. >> they're calling it a trend now because more and more women are being apprehended or investigated but women have actually been a big part of the narco scene for quite some time. when women are involved and the women sanction it the younger kids say, "well this is the family business.
if mom or grandma or aunt or whoever may be involved, then obviously this is something that is okay, or this is the business that we're obviously goring to that we're obviously goring togrown into. so that part makes it more >> monica, is this progress for women? >> this is a double-edged sword in any other case where the woman is a leader not a victim i would say this is progress. with this situation not progress for women to be involved in crime. it would be progress for them to be involved in leadership role that would be making a difference in their communities and that will be helping them progress as women. >> this is so unfortunate. this is dealing with the lack of economic opportunities in latin america, couldn't stress enough that we need even more trade in latin america, the lack of leadership that is coming from latin america as well. it's just unfortunate. what's happening these women they need to make money, they have to raise families. >> these horrible crimes.
>> the cartels are expanding -- >> it's getting worse. >> mexico is all sort of broken up in to territories and so other cartels, it's leaking badly in to honduras, costa rica. compost recould has a woman president why isn't she able to do something about that? >> i don't know if having a woman president makes a difference. >> she could devote more of the military to -- >> there seems to be almost acceptance in the society probably think politicians and authorities are looking the other way, which they are. this has been around. it's very sad now that women who i think -- have always felt maybe women were slightly softer side in a good way maybe wouldn't go by way of the harsher tactics. like this part that wants to be proud they broke the glass ceiling, i kid of course. very sad. >> let me say costa rica does not have a military, i correct
myself. go ahead. >> this is not a way that we want to break the glass ceiling or that we want to strive for equal pay for equal work. it clearly is a sign that when a woman who may have to take care of a family needs to do that then she'll find the means to do it. this is one example of that. i think we have 20 look at what is driving the drug cartels what's driving it is the use, a lot of uses coming out of the united states, it's a problem that we have to tackle if we hope to solve these problems in the region. >> supply and demand. >> other part when you look at colombia they were in such control for so long, what they did they're out in rain forest areas where they just take over these things. they form -- like pseudogovernment down there. you are negotiating with these horrible -- you want to call them terrorists it's unfortunate that that's what we have -- that's what's happened. they formed their own government
they have to somehow deal with. >> but this report just says 50 perks, men are disappearing so women have to take this over. this is an opportunity for women to put a stop, why aren't they saying our sons, husbands are dying and -- >> the report that is -- >> they're not killing people for no reason as -- >> as opposed to the good reasons. >> it's a good opportunity for them to stop it -- >> it's economical -- that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." please follow me on twitter at @bonnieerbe and @tothecontrary and check our website, pbs.org/ttc, where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time.
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a copy of "to the contrary" please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.